Good writing deserves good reading and not just one time through, but time after time. That’s the best way to describe a recent release by Steve Pollick, the soon to “hang it up” outdoor editor for the Toledo Blade.
Pollick has been reporting the outdoor beat for 30 years and, according to him, “It’s time.”
An often and well-deserved, award-winning word master, Pollick teamed up with talented cameraman and artist Jeff Basting to create a man-sized collection of their favorite pages covering the last 15 years of The Blade‘s weekly outdoor page, a full top to bottom page featuring the good words of wordsmith and woodsman Pollick made colorful and even more lifelike by Basting’s images.
And indeed, each page is worth more than one pass. Pollick calls the collection The Best of the Outdoor Page but after knowing him for some quarter century, I would guess they are more likely the greatest since all of Pollick’s work seems to be the best.
Interestingly, one of my daughters is married to a flatlander from western Ohio, a place where a hill is most often a man-made structure and where the work of Pollick is gospel. Every so often I find in my mailbox a Blade outdoor story sent by my daughter’s mother-in-law.
Sometimes I think she sends them to encourage me to improve but in reality I know she finds Pollick’s work so interesting that she wants to share her enthusiasm.
Perhaps The Blade’s editor-in-chief, John R. Block, says it best when he states that Pollick has traveled the natural world all over the globe and on every trip he has taken his readers with him.
Another interesting tidbit is that as a college kid in the 60s Pollick was awarded the very first scholarship awarded by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio, a monetary award our official collection of outdoor communicators presents every year to a college student pursuing a career with an outdoor-oriented direction.
The 64 pages which fill The Best of the Outdoor Page are a fun and fact-filled trip with Pollick as he piles up the miles his travels have logged. Some stories are as close as a wood pile in suburban Toledo and others as far as an ice pack igloo, each as interesting and alluring as the next.
And talk about being there: I shivered from the cold when reading about time spent on the frozen tundra and shivered with excitement while chewing on the one about Ohio’s upland hunting for ring-neck pheasants, a colorful and wild few decades of time when western Ohio was every bit a mirror of today’s South Dakota.
Add to those stories a page on hummingbirds, another on coyotes and still another on a family’s simple but full lifetime spent in the remote wilds of Alaska.
And the range of stories goes on and on and included plenty of great reading for anyone who likes birding, hiking, exploring and good old-fashioned storytelling.
But let it be known that Pollick’s work is good enough by itself but Basting’s art is like frosting on the cake. Every page comes alive with color and image, a wonderful mix of seeing it and reading it. In fact, Basting designed the publication from cover to cover and you can bet it will bring some major recognition.
I’ve seen several collections of columns and stories, all proudly done by fellow writers and outdoorsmen, but none like The Best of the Outdoor Page. It is in a class by itself. The cost is $21.95 and it can be ordered from The Toledo Blade, 541 N. Superior St., Toledo, OH 43660 or calling 800-245-3317 or 419-724-6000.